Everything You Need to Know About Sash Windows

Homes with sash windows benefit from the elegant and timeless feel of this feature. If you are considering these windows, you need to know about the style, restoration, history and maintenance of the windows. If you are renovating a Regency, Georgian or Victorian property, you need to know about sash windows.

What is a Sash Window?

The word sash in the name refers to the single frame for glazing. A traditional sash window will have two sashes which slide up and down. In order to work, the window will have a balance between the sash and a counter-weight which is generally made from cast iron, steel or lead. This counter-weight is hung on a cord and concealed in the frame of the window.

In older windows, it is possible to retrofit insulation into these pockets. The classic design sash window will generally be found in Victorian and Georgian properties. However, late Victorian properties and some Edwardian houses will also have sash windows.

The Styles of Sash Windows

You need to consider the time period when replacing the windows in an older property or if you are designing a period property. Getting this wrong can affect the entire aesthetic of the property. Over the years, there were several developments and changes in style to sash windows.

The traditional sash window had a number of small panes. These panes were held in place and together by glazing bars which created a larger glazed area. This was done because glass advancement at the time did not allow for large areas of clear glazing.

Should You Repair or Replace the Sash Windows?

You should be careful when removing sash windows because you do not want to take out the original period timber ones and replace them with newer models. If possible, you should always restore the windows and waterproof them. There are many benefits to repairing the windows that you need to know about including retaining the original character and charm of the property.

If the original box frame is retained and only the glazing replaced, you will benefit from better thermal performance due to the double glazing and draught-proofing. Original timber is generally better quality than the products on the market today. This is one of the reasons why you can keep the timber frame.

The Cost of Restoring and Replacing Sash Windows

If the original frame of the window can still be used, you can replace the glazing in the window. If the renovation can be done to a good condition, the single-glazed panes in the window can be replaced with slim double-glazed ones. New sashes can also be fitted into the existing frame by a professional window repair specialist, such as KJM Group. This will generally cost upward from £1000 per window.

Materials to Choose for a Replacement Sash Window

If you are a traditionalist or living in a listed building or Conservation Area, you need to use genuine timber. This can often be the only choice available to you. Plastic will not be able to offer the same tactile effects. The timber windows will be durable, long-lasting when properly cared for and provide excellent insulation.

PVCu is often used instead of painted wood and most commonly seen in white for windows, but it does come in a range of different colours. You can also get different finishes such as a photo-effect wood finish. These windows are low maintenance and will be energy efficient. The problem is that they are not sustainable because they cannot be recycled.

Composite sash windows have become more popular over the years because of the construction. These newer products will have timber in the interior of the frame and an aluminium cladding. They help you retain the classic look of wood inside your home and offer low maintenance for the outside of your home.

The Glazing in Sash Windows

Single glazed windows are almost impossible to have in new homes because of modern building regulations which means you have to sacrifice complete authenticity. It is possible to install single glazed windows when renovating. However, you will need to consider whether this is the best solution.

When using double-glazing, the small units of glass with thick bars will look clumsy, but there are ways to refine this. The best solution will be to bond mock bars to the sides of a single double-glazed unit. You can then use a spacer bar between the glass sheets to add effect for a greater cost.

It is possible to find triple-glazing options with sash windows, but they will come at a premium. While the costs have decreased over the years, these windows are still much more expensive than others.